This week was the much anticipated Spotify launch in South Africa. With this service, as well as Apple Music, Google Play and YouTube, music has become infinitely accessible. You can play any song by any artist at any time. And this has resulted in a counterintuitive trend: sales of vinyl records have been growing.

Why is the case?

Some people that buy vinyl say that it’s for the superior quality of sound that is produced. Which may be true. But it’s also possible to get high definition audio on all the streaming platforms

However, I think that the better quality of sound isn’t from the output of the speakers. It’s the fact that the physical nature of vinyl compels you to engage with the music.

The sound isn’t better. Your listening is.

And this is where I think the magic of vinyl exists. It forces you to become present, to be mindful.

You can press play on a Spotify playlist and ignore it for the next few days.

With a vinyl, your experience of music is different. You have to gently take it out of the sleeve. You then lift the needle and slowly put the record into place. Press the button and the needle gets into position. And once this is done, you sit and listen to two or three songs, which you do with intention. And then that side of the record finishes and you need repeat the process. When both sides are done, you need to pack it away with the same care as when you took it out.

You are present with the music. Every step of the way

Listening Sessions

Jared and I have gotten into the habit of listening to records on Saturday mornings and some weekday evenings. We’ll put one on and sit on the couch, only speaking occasionally.

I find it so soothing. We listen to every word. And experience it all at a much higher quality than when we experience other music throughout the week

The songs are the same. But our state is different.

We are present. And that’s what makes records so special: they usher in mindfulness.


Image is of Jared’s record player, guitar and collection of records.

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